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Additional Social Security Benefits after Divorce

 Posted on August 28, 2015 in Divorce Finances

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois marriage laws,Everybody would like a little financial boost as they approach retirement. Did you know that if you are planning on retiring and are divorced, it is possible that you can receive additional Social Security benefits based on your ex-spouse. This can be a nice increase in income, especially if your spouse was paid well throughout his or her career, or if your social security benefits are lower because you did not work as much, or did not work at all. Below are the steps you can take to get these additional benefits.

Who Is Qualified?

Before trying to access these additional benefits, first determine that you are, in fact, eligible to receive them. You must be at least 62 years old, which is the age a person is eligible for Social Security, and your marriage must have been intact for at least 10 years.

Additionally, if your ex spouse has not yet filed for Social Security benefits themselves, your divorce must have been finalized at least two years prior to receiving the benefits. If your ex has already filed for social security benefits, the two year rule is dropped.

Also, while it does not matter if your spouse remarried, it does matter if you did. If you did remarry, that marriage must be over before you are eligible to receive these benefits. The good news is, however, you will have the choice of whichever ex-spouse's benefits are higher.

How Much Can I Receive?

Once you have determined that you are eligible for these spousal benefits, you next need to find out how much of a benefit you are entitled to. The easiest option is to ask your ex spouse. They should know, or be able to easily find out, the amount of Social Security benefits they have available to them. However, as is the case with many divorces, your relationship with your ex may not be the healthiest, and communicating with them is a struggle.

Your other option is to visit a Social Security Administration office in your community. They typically require you prove that you are entitled to access this information about your ex spouse. You should bring evidence that proves you were married for 10 years or more and proof of divorce. Bring official records, not photocopies, of your former marriage license and divorce decree.

After proving your right to access this information, you will be given access to your spouses primary insurance amount (PIA) which will detail your potential spousal benefits. You will also have the ability to review your ex's earnings record. You may wish to review the earning records if you believe the PIA has discrepancies.

Anyone exploring social security options should take time to consider every option available. The system is complicated, so having help from a financial advisor may be necessary. If you are divorced, considering divorce, or already dealing with divorce related legal troubles, a qualified Wheaton area divorce attorney can help. Contact the law office of Stock, Carlson, Flynn and McGrath, LLC at 630-665-2500 to speak to an attorney today.

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